Wednesday, June 27, 2007

(Almost) Completely Off Topic

This has nothing to do with wine or spirits or anything alcoholic, except possibly that the subject at hand does go excellent well with a beer.

But you can't expect a Wisconsinite to sit idly by without commented on the death of the creator of Johnsonville Brats, can you?

I love Johnsonville bratwurst. They are the finest, tastiest, tangiest, juiciest mass-produced brats on the market, in my opinion. Trust me: I've eaten a lot of brats over the years. The flavor is incomparably satisfying.

Growing up in Milwaukee, people had brat loyalty. They stuck by their brand. Usinger's was the class bratwurst. If you fancied yourself a toff, you bought Usinger's, preferably from the old world shop located in downtown Milwaukee. Johnsonville was more populist, and probably a better seller. The product is forever etched in the minds of Wisconsinites by the classic local commercial which ends with the line "Charlie Murphy's cooking Johnsonville brats!"

Reading the New York Times obit was interesting. Ralph F. Stayer came from Minnesota (gasp!). He bought a butcher shop in 1945, and decided to produce a quality bratwurst to attract business, using an old family recipe. It's a multi-million-dollar company now, and still run by the Stayer family. I was mighty relieved recently when I discovered that the brats were carried by Fairway.

Can't say it goes with a Rob Roy or a Burgundy. But try one with any beer you care to mention. Or just try one.

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